The Catch

by Anne Silver

"He's into dog s--t," I told Maggie when she asks what my latest date does for a living.


"Not only that, but Bart has his own airplane so he can go all around the country selling his pooper scooper. He is the King,"

Typical Jewish date for me, he told me how generous he is but gave nothing to me while he took everything he could get his hands on, including my body. He even pretended to be obsessed with my poetry. He was a salesman, and he told me that he always likes to maneuver his customers by learning all he can about them while giving them no information about himself. And I was one dumb customer myself. I did noticed he didn't talk about himself unless it was to complain about his ex wife not enjoying life like he does, or that his father stupidly threw his life away by taking care of his mother when she got sick, or repeatedly telling me his net worth, because I was too busy being flattered by his attention. And then he disappeared saying he needed space.

"You know how to select 'em, Miss Anne," my friend says.

"When are you going to fix my picker? You're a shrink, for God's sake. Help me, Maggie."

Since Maggie is single, she doesn't have any answers either, except she knows when to come in out of the courtship storm. She had the brains to get religion and be orthodox, so if she does happen to meet a nice Jewish guy, at least she'll know he's trying to live a righteous life.

The last guy I dated for a blink, Barry, hosts venting events. He holds a microphone while standing in the middle of a coffee house while people puke their complaints against men, traffic, men, Clinton, men, into the air. He runs around like a stumpy Donahue trying to get everyone to get out their frustrations, which makes them more and more angry. I told him all the psychology studies, and all the Buddhist teachers say that anger begets anger. But Barry says he is spiritual. He knows the score. In fact, he is so developed and in tune with the cosmos, he refused to thank me for arranging a dinner at a posh restaurant and getting him a present on his birthday. Refused!

The guy before him was Don the cartoonist who took $800 from me to illustrate a book but wouldn't give me the pictures or pay the money back. Then he complained that I gave him the opportunity to rob me and ruin his character.

I ask myself, which one is Moe, Larry or Curly and then I realize I'm the stooge. And I beg Maggie to take and shred my dating card. Really. I wonder why I would want to keep dating when it's always the same guy.

I suppose I am an optimist. My mother, may she rest in peace, used to tell me a pessimist is never disappointed. But she was a pessimist, and she was always disappointed. At least I have intermittent rays of hope. For instance, just today a guy held the door open for me. And the other day, I went on a date where the guy actually paid for my dinner. He did ask to be reimbursed when I told him I wasn't going to go to bed with him. But for a moment I was happy.

I think my dating life was cursed from the start, because I lied to my mother. When I was 14, I asked if I could go out with Melvin Honowitz to see the Association at the Ice House in Pasadena. He was in AZA and I was a BBG. She said I was too young. I told her she shouldn't have let me skip a grade if I couldn't be allowed to do what girls in my grade got to do. I omitted the fact that they weren't allowed to date. Mel is actually the only nice Jewish guy I ever went out with. I should have quit while I was ahead, instead of thinking I would meet another one like him.

Maybe I have been dating too long. Or I should have dated non-Jewish men. But my mother wanted me to marry a Jew. I didn't ever tell her that with Jewish men, I've been cheated, betrayed, lied to, verbally abused, publically humiliated, beaten up, raped and robbed. And I swear on my mother's dust, I have not deserved any of it.

Each and every Jewish guy I have dated have expected me to be their audience, demanded to be served, massaged, held and comforted without giving one of those things in return, which is how my mother described my late father. I don't know how she could say that. H hugged me a couple of times.

If a woman knew what I have experienced with the Jewish men I have met and dated, she would have to be out of her mind to want to date one. When I see "Mad About You", I think, poor woman. Poor, poor blond woman. You have no idea what's going to happen when you ask for something in return for all the kindness you will show this man. And I also say, you can have him.

But to be honest, I hear the same complaints from my Christian girlfriends. I've dated a couple of them and my worse complaint was that one drank too much. Well, a couple of them did.

I've been praying lately, trying to get G-d's ear so I can ask him, please, take away this rage before I explode and take out the whole Westside. But I think the loudest complainers, blamers and takers got His audience first. They are more practiced at getting attention with those tactics. Maybe I should go to Barry's venting event. And maybe I won't. After God blessed me by giving me myself. After all, I could have been born one of these guys I've learned to despise.

When I was young, I used to dream that I'd have a Jewish home when I grew up. That I'd light the Sabbath candles and have a lovely table set for my family. But the only Jewish guys I know who would appreciate such a peaceful life are either very gay, or those who have been my friends for a long time, or they are married and already have families.

I am seriously considering changing my religion, not to Islam or Native Americanism. Jainism has always attracted my interest. I'll roam the streets and dirt paths of India as naked as the girls in any of my ex-boyfriends' vast porno libraries but not air-brushed. I'll put my hands out as a plate for food when I am hungry. It won't be difficult. I'll just pretend I'm one of the Jewish men I have dated. The only difference is that I will nod a thank you.

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